Rome’s Fortune: a Guiding Force to Conquering the World

Rome’s Fortune: A Guiding Force to Conquering the World
The opening to Polybius’ Histories lays out his plans for his volumes and why it is that he began writing them in the first place. Book One, Chapter Four directly states what led Polybius to writing his book in the first place; he wanted to give a complete history, which had never been done before. Immediately, I felt that Polybius held himself in high-regards compared to other historians of Rome’s rule. He feels that his history is better than anyone else’s, making him unique. However, within this section he introduces the term Fortune, and on first read I was perplexed by what he meant, and I’m still not one-hundred percent positive of his purpose of using this term as his reason for writing the Histories.
I find Polybius’ use of the word Fortune intriguing in this section of Book One, and a particular reading of this section heavily decides how to read the rest of Polybius’ histories of Rome. According to Merriam-Webster’s definition of fortune, it is beyond the control of man,—a force that is predestined— it is unpredictable, resulting in both favorable and unfavorable outcomes/consequences, and that it is partly attained through luck. However, Polybius’ last line of 1.3 completely contradicts this idea: “I hope to make it clear to any reader that the whole process, from formulation of plans to their fulfilment in imperial rulership over the whole world, was based on very reasonable grounds.” In this line, Polybius makes it clear that Rome’s ascension was purposeful and achieved by no accident or luck. Now, assuming that Polybius did not unintentionally misuse the word Fortune in the following paragraph, then he must have had his own definition in mind when writing his histories.
For Polybius Fortune seems to be an active force in history, something that is constantly as play, which is described through, “Fortune has turned almost all the events of the known world in a single direction and has forced...